After a wild opening wave of free agency — with signings, releases and trades reshaping rosters across the league — it’s time to assess the impact on the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s my updated forecast for the first 32 picks in April.
The Jags addressed the offensive line by tagging Cam Robinson and signing Brandon Scherff. Those moves point to a pass rusher with their first pick, and Hutchinson is the best one in the class.
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Walker has the athleticism and scheme versatility to fit in with any of the teams at the top of the draft.
The Texans are loaded with draft capital after the Deshaun Watson trade. Adding a premier pass rusher would be a good cornerstone for their rebuild.
The Jets added two quality secondary starters during free agency in D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead. Snagging the top cornerback in this draft would really round out a necessary overhaul in the back end of Robert Saleh’s defense.
This would be an ideal situation for new Giants GM Joe Schoen. Ekwonu is the best offensive lineman in the class.
The Panthers have been doing their homework on the quarterbacks in this class, and I won’t be surprised if they go in that direction. However, Neal would be a Day 1 starter up front.
Johnson is an explosive edge rusher with outstanding production. Pairing him with Azeez Ojulari, who just posted eight sacks in his rookie campaign, could do wonders for New York’s pass rush.
The Matt Ryan era is over, so this could be a landing spot for a quarterback. However, Marcus Mariota is a serviceable option. And in the wake of Calvin Ridley’s suspension and Russell Gage’s relocation to Tampa, the Falcons have a desperate need for a wide receiver.
The Seahawks need help in a lot of areas. Cross would be an immediate starter at left tackle.
Zach Wilson, last year’s No. 2 overall pick, needs some help to get back on track after a rocky rookie season. London would give Wilson a big third-down target and a red-zone weapon.
The Commanders stop the slide of one of the highest-rated players in the entire class. Don’t worry about the 4.59 40 time — the versatile safety plays fast in pads.
Davis is a dominant run defender with plenty of untapped potential as a pass rusher. (You saw what the 6-foot-6, 341-pounder did at the NFL Scouting Combine, right?)
McDuffie checked in a little smaller than anticipated at the combine (5-10 3/4 and 193 pounds with 29 3/4-inch arms), but his tape is outstanding.
Baltimore’s signing of Morgan Moses eliminates the dire need at offensive tackle. Karlaftis plays with the passion and effort the Ravens covet.
Wyatt put on a show in Indianapolis. He’d add some youth and explosiveness to the Eagles’ interior defensive line.
I know the Eagles typically avoid taking linebackers in the first round, but Lloyd would be too good to pass up at this point in the draft.
One year after shoring up the blind side with the first-round selection of Rashawn Slater, the Chargers land their starting right tackle.
Pickett could ultimately land in the top 10, but if he falls, I can’t see him slipping past the Saints.
Mafe followed a dominant Senior Bowl performance with an outstanding combine workout. The Eagles would be stacked with talent along the defensive front.
This would be a fun fit in the Steelers’ secondary. When healthy and dialed in, Stingley is a top-five talent in this class.
The Patriots need to get more dynamic weapons for Mac Jones. Though he’s currently recovering from a torn ACL, Williams has elite top speed and toughness.
It’s well documented that the Packers don’t historically take wideouts in the first round, but in the wake of Davante Adams’ departure, this would be too tempting to pass up. Olave’s the kind of polished route runner Aaron Rodgers would love.
The Cardinals lost Christian Kirk in free agency, and Burks could slide right into that role.
Johnson has position flexibility and would help protect Dak Prescott for the next decade.
The Bills are poised to make a Super Bowl run, and Hall could be the finishing touch on offense.
Smith can play right tackle or slide inside to guard. His nasty play style would fit right into the Titans’ physical culture.
The Bucs are losing some key pieces on their defensive front. Jones can start Day 1.
Why not? The Packers could completely revamp their receiving corps with Olave and Dotson. I know it probably won’t happen, but a man can dream.
Linderbaum has Pro Bowl potential at the center position. He would complete the reworking of Miami’s offensive line.
The Chiefs need more pass-rush pop. Ebiketie can win with speed or power.
Booth would provide a much-needed reinforcement to Cincinnati’s secondary.
In this slot, Dean would be the best value pick of the first round.
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